Sarah Stackhouse is an alumna of the 2019 CLS Urdu program in Lucknow, India. She’s currently studying Digital Marketing at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and works as an international admissions counselor for a branch campus of the University of Wisconsin. She completed additional undergraduate and graduate studies in Scotland and England.
Getting to Know Sarah
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is where I have spent most of my life—I am a Yooper born and raised. I was an ice hockey player growing up, and attended Shattuck St. Mary’s to play during high school. I then studied in Thailand for my senior year, taking a gap year there as well. Sawatdeeee kaaa! Thailand is basically my home too!
I travel for work four to six months per year, talking to passionate international students about coming to study in the United States. I love my career, as I know the work I do every day makes a difference and helping students pursue their dreams of studying internationally makes me very happy. Having been an international student multiple times myself, I love sharing my story to inspire and empower others to become the best versions of themselves.
In my free time I love to travel the world sampling different cuisines, meeting a variety of people, seeing historic landmarks, and gaining life experiences that help to make me who I am! I enjoy spending time with my family, crafting, reading, and being outside in the fresh air. I love trying new things and having adventures.
In my current role, I travel to Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal frequently to meet with international students. Urdu is very versatile, as it allows me to communicate with Hindi speakers as well, and speakers of both languages can be found around the world. This helps me to not only communicate in my day-to-day tasks, but also to gain greater insight into the cultures and lives of the students with whom I work.
The value of language is priceless. It allows you to communicate in a way you never knew possible. There are words for things that simply don’t exist in English. Urdu is such a beautiful language and the script is truly a work of art. One of my favorite words to learn was ‘sachi’ which means ‘really?’ but I always pronounced ‘shadiii’ which means wedding. My housemate always would say ‘wedding?’ and we would both laugh. I feel very grateful for the amazing teachers, host family, community members, and housemate who helped me learn and always supported me through my studies.
Favorite Memories from CLS
One day in class, one of the students asked where the best place to buy “Lucknowi chicken” was, as his mom wanted him to bring some home for her. I wondered how he could possibly bring chicken home to the U.S.! The conversation went on, discussing the best quality and variety of colors, and I wondered, “what type of chicken comes in multiple colors?” A few of us were completely lost, until someone noticed our confused faces. They then explained to us that it is Lucknowi Chikan, a type of embroidery famous in Lucknow! I ended up taking embroidery as one of my cultural classes and had a fun time learning about this unique handicraft.
Lucknow was incredible. It was an absolutely amazing place to learn and grow. The city is diverse and small enough of a city to get to know it, becoming familiar with the streets, best places to eat, where to get the best bargains, and the best tea shops. I went to the same coffee shop almost daily for studying and the staff there truly became like family. We shared birthdays and holidays together and exchanged cultural knowledge and language.
Advice for Applicants
CLS was an incredible experience, and one that will change your life forever. My best advice is to just go for it and apply! Life is too short and it becomes more flavorful with each new place you visit. You will create family around the world and another place to call home. You will gain experiences that empower you to grow and connect with humanity. The most beautiful part of the journey is knowing how adaptable you become and how you can learn so much in such a short amount of time. You will learn the value of language in connecting humanity. That is the power of CLS and that is the power within you!
April 30, 2020